Juice isn't always good for you. Fruity Bubble Gum Hi-C:
How 1992 Can Come Back To Haunt You.

Matt - 6.11.02 /// Previous ArticleX-ENext Article

I went to a local corner store deli last night to pick up cigs, but I came back home with something far more unhealthy than cancer sticks. This wasn't one of those nice and clean grocery stores - it's the kind that gets by strictly on the sale of alcohol and cigarettes. Whatever actual food remains was typically bought in bulk from recently discovered 50s fallout shelters. I'm not just saying that the stuff is past it's expiration date - I'm saying most of the crap in there was made before companies even used expiration dates. The place is like an interdimensional portal to a deli as it would've appeared in the late 1700s. It may be fun to look around, but you're really sticking the proverbial giant flagpole up your ass if you decide to eat anything from it.

Still, sometimes nostalgia gets the best of us, so while I realized that buying food from this store was the equivalent of paying someone to tie your face to an ostrich's ass, I couldn't resist one particular article - a real conversation piece from 1992, this helping of foodstuff proved impossible to pass up:

Fruity Bubble Gum Hi-C! Indeed, the register boy had enough balls to actually sell me a bottle of juice that was literally disintegrating before our eyes. Now I'm not yanking your chain here - this stuff hasn't been made since '92, so picture the legal risks of a deli selling you something 'edible' that's quite definitely a decade old. Considering the lack of bulk in my wallet, I'd be doing myself a major favor drinking this. Sure, I'd probably become the prototype for several new types of food poisoning diseases, but the money I could land from a lawsuit would be incredible. I could've built my own Hi-C factory and forged Bubble Gum juice that wouldn't destroy me. Sadly, I've got a severe case of liticaphobia, so I can't go near a courtroom. Instead, I'll throw away my pride and just try to get an article out of this beast.

Now, Hi-C might be a staple of kid's lives, but they've really taken some risks with the flavors they shill. While Ecto-Cooler was certifiably disgusting, they could get away with it since they had Slimer on the packaging. Everybody loved Slimer - we had enough respect for the ghost to drink his drink even if it tasted like a mixture of antifreeze and bat vomit. Fruity Bubble Gum Hi-C has no such esteemed mascots to speak of. Instead, they have this guy:

A bulbous pile of chewed gum wearing sunglasses. Well that'll make the kids scream with delight. Personally, I find the guy so frightening even at age 23 that I'm positive I would've run away from the grocery store aisle screaming ten years ago. The creature looks more like something from the Puppet Master series than an endearing Juice Pusher. I thought food mascots were supposed to be cute and cuddly? Look at the Doughboy, or even those damned evil Keebler Elves -- they're all so gregarious and engaging, you feel like you're performing a personal service giving their bosses money. But with this guy - the Gum Monster From Hades - I feel more like I'm filtering money to a secret Satanist society where the master plan is to use special gum-flavored potion to wash the Christianity right out of us. I just can't do it.

Something else to consider: the contents of this can aren't being held together by any magical nutrients that promote a long shelf life. Whatever lies inside this can is rotten to the core...

See, no preservatives! Without them, there's really nothing in this jar to keep the peace. It's a wasteland in there. A wasteland of fermented, toxic bubble gum juice that would cause more panic than an Exxon oil spill should it be released into our natural environment. I felt it was my personal responsibility to hand this jar over to the top nuclear authorities, to let the professionals dispose of it in a safe, healthy manner. Lord knows what type of carcinogens and overall vile crap would be unleashed on our planet should this item fall into the wrong hands.

Eh, fuck it. I gotta see what's in there. To Hell with the environment. To Hell with what's right. And while I'm at it - to Hell with people who think 'Baby on Board' car signs are still in, too.

Before I can go against the heavens and all senses of humanity by opening these cans, there's a few risks we must consider. Not only is this juice without the artificial preservatives necessary to prolong it's life, it's also got a few other notable problems of which much danger may come...

The can has slowly begun to disintegrate, as evidenced by the now-solidified juice permeating through the bottom. Now, allow me to explain what this means, because I've got a good amount of experience with expired foods since it's usually all I can afford, and typically, I prefer to liken it to a fine aged wine or cheese, pretending it's actually more palatable than if it wasn't highly toxic. If you leave an unnatural liquid (and what's more unnatural than gum juice?) in a tin can for enough time, it'll slowly start eating away at the tin. Now, the problem here isn't just that some of the juice has spoiled and spilled out - the real danger is that the tin itself has partly broken down and is now part of the juice. With this knowledge, I'll have to forgo my planned experiment of drinking it, because even if Baby on Board novelty signs annoy me, they don't annoy me to the point where I want to get hospitalized and die.

You should've seen the register boy's face when I walked up with this slimy, dusty can of evil. For a brief moment, it seemed as though his higher brain function kicked in. I questioned whether or not he had the lack of scruples to go through will making the sale. Then he noticed that the can was priced at 2.39, which equates to a good amount of Atomic Fireball candy. He rolled the dice and sold it to me, a move that could - and still might - cause a chain reaction that pollutes our entire nation, leaving millions asking God and the Bubble Gum Monster: WHY US, OH WHY US? Selling a ten-year-old can of Hi-C as a veritable foodstuff is the direct equivalent of selling nuclear bombs on the black market. Is your conscience worth the price, punk? Is it?

Off in the distance, held by a magnet to my refrigerator - a picture of a cow stared towards me, stared right into me - I knew what this cow was trying to say. This wasn't one of those pity pleas, like when I get a scornful look for putting burger patties in the freezer. This was more of a look of concern - this cow knew opening a can of toxic gum juice was asking for trouble. The cow was trying as hard as it could to keep me from prompting the end of civilization. I just wouldn't listen. Like a wish-wanter with a Monkey's Paw, or an undersexed teenager with a porous pillow, I could not resist the gum juice. It would be opened. Oh yes - it MUST be opened.

The Hindus Were Right - These Cows Know Everything.

The juice now has a similar consistency to that of oil or shellac, and likely would be just as safe to drink. The scent of it was difficult to identify - an overall census here concluded that it smelled a lot like turpentine or acetone, but definitely not bubble gum. There were specs of something solid, unidentifiable but solid, floating around the mass of glue-like liquid. Obviously, drinking this sludge was out of the question. Just opening the can is virtually unleashing a terror upon the world, the likes of which hasn't been seen since other fiascoes like the Black Plague, or that fad where cardigans were considered cutting edge. I soon realized this, but there was someone, someone smarter than I, who knew it all along...

The cow.

Now, something pretty interesting came up after I opened up this can of pain. While it looks to be a deep red liquid while inside the can, pouring it out reveals more mysteries that, while of undetermined origin, still obviously mean trouble:

The picture on the can's label displays the juice in a reddish pink 'gum' hue, which would be perfectly acceptable if what actually poured out wasn't colored like urine. If old shoes are any indication though, color fades with age. Maybe this isn't something to be worried about. But, the can says this drink contains 10% real juice. That's fine and all, but it really makes you wonder what's comprising that other 90% these days. Cyanide? Maybe I should've drank it - maybe I should've gone through with the lawsuit plot, and I'll tell you why: I'd be able to afford more expired foods. This is so much fun!

Okay, so it's no longer edible, or by any means safe. Does this mean I should simply throw it away? I can't do that - it'd be a waste of two bucks, plus I'm not sure this stuff is environmentally safe. I don't want any dead birds or sea life on my head. Instead, I've come up with a few ways to utilize expired death juice. If you've got expired death juice in your house, consider these options before tossing it aside:

I hate my girlfriend's cats, and now I've found a great way to seek revenge on them for all the times they've chewed my computer wires. Just pour a little of the Death Juice on the floor, and wallah! Instead fake cat piss. Prepare to snicker proudly as your enemy cats get beat on and locked in the bathroom. In my continuing fight against all things feline, Fruity Bubble Gum Hi-C juice from 1992 isn't just a weapon - it's an ally.

You know all that expensive jelly stuff they sell to clean the tarnish off brass and silver? Expired devil drinks work a whole lot better, and they're infinitely cheaper. Just don't get any on your skin, or you'll have first hand experience on what the nerves surrounding the bones in your arm feel like when they hit natural air. Rubber gloves are advised, but a biochemical radiation suit is really the way to go. Clean your troubles away with Hi-C juice!

Need to raise the pH level in your home aquarium? There's no better way!

And finally, it's a great accessory when you're playing with your action figures. Much like the Mattel Masters of the Universe Slime Pit, the jar of juice works terrific as a liquid torture chamber, where all whom fall prey to the sadistic drink become slowly digested by every evil thing swarming around inside of it...

Palpatine: If you won't be turned, you will be destroyed. Okay guys, on the count of three...

It's bad shit, no doubt - but it does have it's merits. Is ten-year-old very expired Fruity Bubble Gum Hi-C Juice meant for you? That's not for me to decide. I suggest weighing all the options before making a purchase as risky as this. Besides, if there's one thing more terrible than an old drink, it's thoughtless impulse buying. Take the lessons you've learned today and keep them in that long term memory of yours. Someday, they just might come in handy.

- Matt
Instant Messager: xecharchar

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